When I picked up the Culver City News from my driveway on Friday evening, I thought I’d give it a glace. What caught my attention was a change in the staff box, and far more interesting, a “Help Wanted” ad buried in the legal classified section on page 19. The position of Editor at the CC News is once again up for grabs.
As someone who feels uniquely qualified to comment, let me just say that the “Journalist Wanted ” ad does not rate as good journalism, although it is a good ad. It’s an attempt to persuade you of something that is only partly true.
It is not a job. It is a number of jobs crushed into one desk. You are expected to be an editor, a reporter, a proofreader, a volunteer recruiter, a fact checker, a copy editor, a graphic designer and a diplomat. That’s 8 jobs – oops, sorry, eight jobs, because you also have to write in AP Stylebook. So that’s nine. Oh, AND you ‘re also the editor of the CC News website. Which I’m sure is not just another job added on, but another half a dozen.
The folks who run the News seem to be unable to understand that this is not a job that one person can do – at least, not for any length of time, or without going insane.
Not only is the editor expected to do nine jobs, they get less than a third of a paycheck. Why the owners of Community Media expect to get someone whose skill set can cover all of those requirements for a salary you could earn selling shoes or flipping burgers makes no sense.
The candidate will need to have a supportive spouse, or trust fund, because the money they pay at the News won’t buy lunch. It certainly won’t allow you to pay rent anywhere that you could live in Culver City. Realistically, you need a trust fund, because you will be working 70 or 80 hours a week, and your spouse may get resentful over the fact that they never see you. They might even decide that you are having an affair, because it’s just not believeable that anyone should be expected to put in a 70 hour workweek for that kind of chump change.
So, I offer a round of applause to Scott Bridges for hanging in with it as long as he did. While Gary Kohatsu is the interim editor, the paper is in very capable (but already seriously overworked) hands. Kohatsu is the editor of the Gardena paper for Community Media, and adding the News and Blue Pacific to his to-do list is just obnoxious. I hope Kohatsu is getting combat pay for this, but I doubt it. The fact that the op-ed piece last week came in from Michigan is a good clue as to how much Culver City news you’ll be seeing in the Culver City News for the duration. Another added highlight is that they will be going into the election cycle with an empty desk, so they will be looking to hire someone in a hurry.
To speculate as to who the next ‘Professor of the Dark Arts’ will be, or to get even more honest, the new drummer for Spinal Tap; it will be someone willing to try, who has about half of the requirements for the desk, who does not live in or know anything about Culver City, and who will quit just as soon as they can find another job.
After I had been fired at the CC News, I ran into Ari Noonan at a school board meeting. He said, “I understand you have joined the ranks of former editors of the Culver City News.” I admitted I had. He smiled at me and said “My dear, there are more of us than there are former Mayors.”
While Ari is not famed for his accuracy, the sentiment was sincere. If that wasn’t statistically true in 2009, we are catching up fast.